Skin cancer: 6 Therapies Targeting Your Disease

Skin cancer: 6 Therapies Targeting Your Disease

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer has been reported to be the most common type of cancers in America. Skin cancer is a condition that arises of malignant cells forming within the skin tissues. Recalling back from anatomy class, we learned that skin is the largest organ in the body.

Also, skin plays vital roles, including protecting the internal organs and maintaining homeostasis balance keeping the body at its optimum functionality. The skin is made up of several layers, but the main layers are epidermis and dermis. The epidermis, which is made up of three different cells, is where skin cancer finds its source. The cells are:

  • Squamous cells- these are the thin topmost cells in the epidermis

  • Basal cells – these are round cells which are found below squamous cells

  • Melanocytes cells – these are cells found in the bottom end of the epidermis.

Melanocytes make up melanin, giving our skin colour. When the skin is exposed more to the sun, these cells make more colour pigment causing the skin to darken. Skin cancer can attack any place in the body but often occurs in parts that are more likely exposed to direct sunlight, such as the hands, neck, and face. Skin colour and being exposed to sunlight for too long can increase the risk of any skin cancer.

When skin cancer is diagnosed early, it can easily be treated. There are different effective treatment options that can be done to patients with skin cancer. Click here to learn more. However, the choices available depend on the type of tumour, size, location, and depth as well as age and general health. Options include:

  • Radiation
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy

  1. Radiation


The medical doctor uses low energy X-ray beam across the tumour, with no need of cutting or use of anesthesia. Destruction of cancer through radiation may require regular treatment for several weeks or daily treatment or a specific time frame. This therapy is commonly used to people with poor health or to elderly whom surgery may not be recommended.

  1. Photodynamic therapy


The patients apply an active light sensitizing topical agent on the skin, then followed by a direct blue or red laser light around the tumour. The impact of light is to activate the topical agent, which kills cancer cells while sparing the healthy cells. After the application of photodynamic therapy, the patient must strictly avoid exposure to direct sunlight for at least 48 hours.

  1. Surgery


Several surgical procedures may be used to treat skin cancer. Some of the common surgery include:

  • Cryosurgery – it’s an instrument that freezes and destroys the abnormal cancer tissue.

  • Shave excision – the area with a tumour, is shaved off the surface using special blades

  • Mohs surgery – the abnormal tissue is cut off the skin in thin layers. During the procedure, the edge of the tumour removed is viewed through microscope specs.

  1. Chemotherapy


Chemo is the cancer treatment option that uses drugs to kill or lower the growth of cancer cells. Chemo drugs may be injected through blood vessels, swallowed orally, or applied directly on the area with the tumour. The way chemotherapy is offered depending on the condition being treated.

  1. Immunotherapy


This treatment uses a person’s immunity to fight cancer. Artificial substances that duplicate natural immune are made in the laboratory and then placed in the body of the patient. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or biologic therapy.

  1. Targeted therapy


This treatment uses specific drugs or other substances to attack cancer cells. Targeted therapy causes less harm to healthy cells, unlike chemotherapy and radiation do. Signal transduction inhibitors in targeted therapy help to treat basal cell carcinoma. Signal transduction inhibitors block the passage of signals from cells to cells.

Bonnie Baldwin